There’s no place like her hometown
Rita Landry was born and brought up in Lincoln, N.H., and an almost gravitational force has always drawn her back here.
It’s not just the beauty of the town, which is settled in the White Mountains. It’s the comforting familiarity of people she has known her whole life.
Rita Landry (left) says, “I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met” at Lincoln Green.
So after surviving her husband and a partner, living with two daughters and watching grandchildren sprout into teenagers, Rita “came home” in 2008. She settled into Lincoln Green Apartments, an affordable housing community for seniors managed by AHEAD.
Her one-bedroom apartment is well-kept and tidy. “I’m a person who has a place for everything and everything in its place,” she says with a smile. And though she keeps busy writing letters, reading, knitting and crafting, she’s often on the go with family, friends, or on the bus to appointments or to shop.
N.H. is challenged to meet the needs of seniors who want to stay in their homes or their communities. Studies predict that seniors will occupy one of every three housing units in the state by 2025. Many will have disabilities and/or minimal income or savings and will need subsidized housing.
A year ago, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund provided financing that helped preserve 75 affordable apartments for seniors at Lincoln Green and in Antrim, N.H. (CATCH manages the latter). By preventing the apartments from becoming market-rate rentals, the loan ensured that the tenants won’t pay more than 30% of their income for housing.
That affordability allows Rita and others to live independently and in their communities for as long as they are able.
“It has been absolutely wonderful here,” she said. “From day one, I didn’t feel alone or lonely in any manner. I feel safe here, I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met, I love my apartment. The place is very well managed and maintained.”
She’s close enough to her large family that “they’re coming and going all the time.” And she loves her mobility. Many of her school mates still live in town, and she was very involved in planning in her high school’s quadrennial reunion, held in tandem with Lincoln’s 250th anniversary last year.
“I prefer to be doing my own thing because I’m back in my hometown,” she said. “I’m 86 years old and there’s no stopping me.”
This story originally appeared in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s 2015 annual report.